When you go on a responsible safari, you experience Africa’s rich cultural heritage and natural beauty, while actively respecting the people and environment within your travel destination.
Tourism is a major source of income for many African countries, and if done sustainably, can translate into greater employment, community empowerment and wildlife conservation efforts. In Southern Africa, every single camp and lodge pays directly or indirectly into community treasures either through their own initiatives or through the large concession fees paid to central government.
According to a recent report by the World Travel and Tourism Council, tourism in Botswana grew by 3.4% in 2018, which meant the country saw approximately 2.5-billion US dollars injected into its economy by this sector alone. It created around 84 000 jobs – roughly 8.9% of Botswana’s total employment – and is one of the main drivers of economic growth, job creation and social development advancement.
So, if travel in Africa accounts for such significant economic impact and has the potential for incredible benefits locally, it is important for to play a role in this by choosing a responsible safari.
If you are interested in leaving the land and its people in the same or better position then when you arrived, take a look below at some examples of what going on a responsible safari in Africa means and how you can contribute:
Community respect and empowerment
By booking into a safari camp or lodge that is locally-owned and operated, you put money straight into the development of surrounding communities.
Bushman Plains in the Okavango Delta is Botswana’s first 100% Bushman-owned camp and an inspiring example of responsible tourism in action. A central part of the experience at this camp, is engaging with and learning about the ways of life and important traditions of Bushman culture. This kind of deep community involvement and integration is a meaningful way to build local economies for long-term sustainability and growth.
As a leader in responsible tourism across Africa, Wilderness Safaris has partnered with local people at their Busanga Plains Camp in Kafue National Park. Through permanent employment, these Zambian communities have become trained in areas of interest and importance to them. For these upskilled people to benefit, travellers need to choose their goods and services over what is found in large shopping centres.
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Wildlife and nature conservation
The fees paid when visiting national parks and game reserves are channeled directly into critical environmental and wildlife conservation initiatives.
As part of their work from Little Makalolo in Hwange National Park, Wilderness Safaris partners with Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority to protect wildlife across 56 000 hectares of the south-eastern region of park from poaching. Along with the park fees, visitors can make donations of time and money to various local wildlife organisations that rely on this support to effectively protect wilderness areas.
Choosing accommodation that uphold an environmentally-conscious ethos is an important part of planning your responsible safari. Many camps and lodges are becoming fully solar-powered, which makes a significant reduction in the establishment’s carbon footprint. On an individual level, to use power and water conservatively will make sure you are plaing an active part in environmentally-friendly travel.
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Contact us to find out more about responsible tourism and how we tailor your responsible safari.
Feature image courtesy of Bushman Plains Camp.